Obama Administration Extends Foreclosure Prevention Program
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration said Thursday it will extend a deadline for struggling homeowners to access a government program to help reduce their monthly mortgage payments.
The Treasury Department and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly agreed to allow the Making Home Affordable Program to continue to be available to American families for an additional two years through Dec. 31, 2015.
North Carolina judge finds fatal flaws in lawsuit against MERS, LPS
The register of deeds for Guilford County, N.C., lost a very public court battle against mortgage document processing firmLender Processing Services and the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems.
The lost court battle ends the register’s closely-followed attempt to obtain a special master to investigate the two firms’ handling of mortgage documents and the recording of property assignments in the county.
In the original lawsuit, the Guilford County Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen painted a picture of two firms – MERS and LPS – as causes of a major county recording mess.
Thigpen alleged the use of the MERS registry – along with the LPS handling of certain mortgage documents – ended up making a mess of county property and land records.
Imagine waking up one day to find your bank account has not only been compromised, but that more than $30,000 in fraudulent checks have been written on it. Then to make matters worse, once things seem to be resolved, another bogus charge is placed on an entirely new account.
This is what happened to Consumerist reader Lisa, who recently received a call from a Chase bank because someone there believed a newly deposited check was a fake.
It was. Then Lisa looked at her Wells Fargo bank statement and found that in a matter of a couple days, a total of $32,526.27 had been drained from her account, putting her more than $30,000 into overdraft.
The Wells website had scans of the 30 scammy checks, which Lisa had obviously not written. The checks were fakes that had been created using her name and account number, but Lisa knew these weren’t stolen out of her checkbook because her partner’s name was not on the address information.
Even more curious were several checks that were written on her account number, but had the name of a home healthcare company in Ohio (Lisa is in Illinois) and appeared to be paychecks from that company, written to the same people in Chicago that cashed the other fraudulent checks:
Lawmaker asks Justice Department to investigate JPMorgan power trading
(Reuters) – A Congressman on Wednesday called on the Department of Justice to investigate JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (JPM.N) power trading in Michigan, as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) considers whether to sanction the firm.
Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee, a Democrat who sits on the Committee on Financial Services, said in a letter to the DoJ that it should pursue its own investigation into JPMorgan to see if it manipulated electricity markets.
The bank has told shareholders it has been notified by FERC staff that they intend to recommend that the five members of the commission take action over an alleged manipulative trading scheme in Michigan and California earlier this decade.
JPMorgan has denied that it manipulated power markets, and has vowed to “vigorously defend” itself and its employees.
Kickbacks as ‘a natural part of business’ at Fannie Mae alleged
Before dawn one hazy March day in L.A., Armando Granillo pulled his SUV into a Starbucks near MacArthur Park, where he planned to pick up an envelope full of cash from an Arizona real estate broker, federal investigators say.
Granillo, a foreclosure specialist at mortgage giant Fannie Mae, expected to drive off with $11,200 — an illegal kickback for steering foreclosure listings to brokers, authorities allege in court records.
Granillo would leave in handcuffs. And investigators are now looking into assertions by Granillo and another former Fannie Mae foreclosure specialist that such kickbacks were “a natural part of business” at the government-sponsored housing finance company, as Granillo allegedly told the broker in a wiretapped conversation.
Investigators are examining whether other workers in Fannie Mae’s Irvine office solicited illegal payments, according to three people with knowledge of the probe, who asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. Granillo at first offered to cooperate with investigators but later declined to talk, two of the people said.
Another former foreclosure specialist in Irvine, Cecelia Carter, contends in an Orange County Superior Court lawsuit that Fannie Mae fired her in 2011 for trying to expose the kickbacks.
Allstate Ends Citigroup Mortgage-Backed Securities Lawsuit
Allstate, the largest publicly traded U.S. home and auto insurer, dropped a lawsuit in which it accused Citigroup of fraudulently selling hundreds of millions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities.
Allstate sued Citigroup in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan in 2011, along with banks including Deutsche Bank, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley.
The Northbrook, Illinois-based insurer, which said in the suit that it bought more than $200 million of securities from New York-based Citigroup that were backed by residential mortgages, voluntarily discontinued the case, according to a court filing dated yesterday.
Banks Outsource Mortgage, Foreclosure Work to India
U.S. banks are outsourcing mortgage and foreclosure work to India to keep costs down and keep up with growing regulatory demands created since the financial crisis of 2008.
The banks are using technology firms on the sub-continent to supplement some of the needed work rather than hire more people in the United States, The Wall Street Journal reports.
But regulators worry that there is poor supervision by banks of third-party vendors. And consumer advocates fear that in the long run, it will be harder for banks to be sure that the work is done properly.
“The lack of oversight so far away may be too much for these banks to handle, considering how badly they’ve handled overseeing their own staff,” said Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates.
After 2008, the U.S. government demanded changes to every aspect of the mortgage and foreclosure process. Banks are outsourcing to meet the changing rules and demands.
The Indian companies say that their role won’t be giving final approval for mortgages or foreclosures.They will help the banks by preparing the necessary documents that the banks will have to sign off on.
German watchdogs warn U.S. on go-it-alone bank rules
(Reuters) – Germany‘s financial watchdogs on Tuesday warned against unilateral action by national regulators, as the United States considers tougher capital rules for foreign banks.
Markets regulator Bafin said it was in intense and constructive talks with its U.S. counterparts about their plans to tighten oversight of foreign lenders, including requiring them to hold bigger capital and liquidity buffers against the risk of a financial market downturn.
US Bank Sued Over Robosigning, Mismanaged RMBS Trusts
Law360, New York (May 24, 2013, 7:05 PM ET) — Banks and asset managers in Missouri, Arkansas and South Carolina have sued U.S. Bank NA for allegedly mismanaging 28 residential mortgage-backed securities trusts by ignoring robosigning practices that ultimately derailed their investments, according to a complaint removed to Missouri federal court on Friday.
Plaintiffs Commerce Bank, Cedar Hill Capital Partners LLC, Citizens Bank & Trust Co., Pinnacle Bank of South Carolina and Wells River Savings Bank claim they collectively invested in 28 residential mortgage-backed securities, for which U.S. Bank was the trustee, and suffered massive losses…